[Brazil] Zé Maria: political campaign in the working class

Written by J. Figueira, PSTU (Brazil)
Sunday, 17 August 2014 20:11

Expressing the nature of his candidacy and the choice to prioritize the most exploited and oppressed sectors of the working class, Zé Maria began his campaign at the Fair of Alcantara in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan area; a neighborhood known by its working-class character.

From there, on July 6, the presidential candidate of PSTU officially kicked off his political campaign.

A Brazil for workers will be achieved in the struggles and factories

On the same day, Zé Maria went to the Complexo da Maré, a region that concentrates diverse communities and which today is occupied by the Armed Forces. There he spoke with residents and supporters about the need of building a socialist and working class alternative to change the country.

The vice-presidential candidate Claudia Durans, on her turn, devoted her first day of campaigning to talk to the residents of the neighborhood of Liberdade, in São Luís (capital of Maranhão, North of Brazil), where she was born and her family lives. Liberdade is a black community and quilombola region.

In other states, the PSTU began the campaign of Zé Maria and the state candidates also in the working class regions, in open fairs and popular neighborhoods. These activities started the campaign which will focus on the most exploited and oppressed sectors of the working class, because only workers can, through their power and mobilization, change the country. This will only be possible by a workers’ government, without bosses, to break with the economic policy that benefits bankers, contractors and multinationals.

The construction sites in Fortaleza

On July 16, the PSTU held a national day of campaigning. Zé Maria visited construction sites in Fortaleza, whose workers recently ended a successful strike. Zé Maria presented to them the reasons for his candidacy.

“The choice of making our campaign next to workers states what are our goals in this election. We make the country, so we can and must rule the country too,” he argued.

At night, the candidate spoke to workers and youth in the headquarters of the Construction Workers Union of Fortaleza (capital of Ceará, Northeast of Brazil): “We need a government of our class, to break with the contractors and employers to make in this country the transformations that we, workers, need for our lives,” defended the PSTU candidate, being applauded by the audience while they chanted:” I’m with Zé in the fights and election, workers don’t vote for bosses.”

In Minas Gerais, with metalworkers

The history of the PSTU in Minas Gerais is mixed with the Democratic Trade Union Federation of Metalworkers of the state’s one. The union organization was born after the huge strikes of the 1980s, especially the occupation of the industries Mannesmann and Belgo-Mineira. Zé Maria was the founder and one of the main leaders of this fighting process and of the Federation.

On July 25, Zé Maria attended the 14th Congress of the Federation and in the evening he was present in the ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of that organization, where he greeted the audience: “The entity has emerged as a need to unify the struggles of the workers in Minas Gerais against the employers and due to the refusal of the existing federation, run by scabs, to make room for rank and file unions. In these 25 years, it not only supported many struggles that led to concrete victories for the metalworkers throughout the state, as well as also being a point of support for the founding of the CSP Conlutas.”

But, as the Minas Gerais composer says, “if it worths what has been done, it worths more what will be.” [1] Recent strikes in industries after 10, 15 and even 20 years of calm, as in IMBEL, Gerdau, Votorantim or Belgo (former Belgo-Mineira) show that the working class is coming back to the fight. It is in these struggles that the PSTU builds its candidates’ campaigns.

In the factories of São Paulo state

In São Paulo, Zé Maria’s campaign is made at the factory gates. Be in the South Zone or the West Zone of São Paulo there is a great receptivity to the proposals for changing the country. It could not be different, for there is a huge dissatisfaction due to the staples inflation and the exploitation to which the workers are subjected.

There is a need to change all this situation. In the ABCD [2], the campaign will now step up the fight against layoffs and redundancy. On July 26 Zé Maria participated in the launch campaign of the PSTU candidates in Vale do Paraíba (SP) [3], where he defended deep changes in society to put the wealth produced in the country at the service of the needs of workers and poor people . “For this, we must attack the profits and privileges of the powerful”, stressed the PSTU’s candidate for the presidency.


[1] – Quoted from the song “O que foi feito deverá” by Milton Nascimento, who was born in Minas Gerais.

[2] – ABC is the acronym for Santo André, São Bernardo, São Caetano and Diadema, the cities of the most industrialized region of São Paulo state, in the metropolitan area of the capital.

[3] – Vale do Paraíba (Eglish: Paraíba Valley) is located in the eastern part of the state of São Paulo along the Presidente Dutra Highway (BR-101) and the River Paraíba, formed by 9 cities. This region includes a highly developed industrial park.

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